History: 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment

The history of the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI), the Foreign Legion’s longest-serving regiment. The history of 2e REI started in Algeria in April 1841, when the French Foreign Legion devided into two parts. Before WWI, legionnaires of the 2nd Regiment fought in Algeria, Crimea, Italy, Mexico, French Indochina, Madagascar or Morocco. During WWI, they helped to form the RMLE, which became one of the two most awarded unit of the French Army.

After WWI, the 2nd Regiment’s legionnaires continued to serve in Morocco (North Africa), until the deactivation of the 2e REI in early 1943, during World War II. Reactivated in 1945, the regiment was sent to French Indochina and got involved in the First Indochina War (1946-54). It returned to Africa in 1955 and joined the Algerian War (1954-62). In 1968, the 2e REI was the last regiment of the Foreign Legion to leave North Africa, the home to the Legionnaire.

After being stationed in Corsica 1972-83, the regiment moved to France. Since the 1980s, the 2e REI deployed to Lebanon, Chad, Iraq, Rwanda, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Zaire, Central African Republic, ex-Yugoslavia, Senegal or Mali. Currently (2016), it is the largest regiment of the Foreign Legion.

For current information about the regiment, see 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment

2e Régiment Etranger d’Infanterie - 2 REI - 2REI - 2eme REI - History

 

2nd Foreign Legion Regiment: 1841 – 1856

1831:
Old Legion
– first Foreign Legion was established, on March 10
– in 1835, the Legion was handed over to Spain
– there, as part of loyal Spanish forces, it fought against Carlists
– the original Legion has never returned under the French flag
– since then, it has been called Old Legion (L’Ancienne)
– it was disbanded in Spain in late 1838

1836 – 1840:
Foreign Legion
– a new Foreign Legion was established in 1836
– in 1840, it was composed of five battalions
– on December 30, 1840, an order to devide the Legion
– two foreign regiments would be established

1841:
2nd Foreign Legion Regiment establishment
– on April 1, the Foreign Legion divided into two parts
– 2nd Foreign Legion Regiment (2e RLE) was established
– it was formed with 4th + 5th Battalion of the Foreign Legion
– the majority of its legionnaires were Spaniards
– they were former Carlists, who, in Spain, fought against the Old Legion
– 2e RLE was based at Bone, in the Constantine region of Algeria

1841 – 1844:
– 2e RLE fought at Djidjelli, Bone, in the Aures mountains
Siege of Biskra (March 1844)

Battle of M’Chounech (March 15, 1844)
– fierce battle against local rebels for 2e RLE
– for its bravery in this battle, 2e RLE gained a regimental flag

1849:
Siege of Zaatcha (August-November)
– an oasis occupied and defended by Bou Ziane rebels
– Zaatcha was inscribed on the 2e RLE’s flag

1853:
– March-April, operations between Constantine and Ouargla
– hundreds of 2e RLE legionnaires were moving on camels

1854 – 1856:
Crimean War
– in June 1954, 2e RLE was sent to the Crimea, Russian Empire
– both Legion regiments were involved in the war
Battle of Alma (September 20)
Siege of Sevastopol (1854-55)
Battle of Malakoff (September 8, 1855)

– in March 1856, Crimean War ended
– 2e RLE legionnaires moved to Corsica
– during the war, its depot was placed at Nimes, France

 

2nd Foreign Regiment: 1856 – 1862

1856:
2nd Foreign Regiment (2e Régiment Etrangèr, 2e RE)
– in July 1856, the Legion’s regiments left Corsica and landed in Algeria
– in August 1856, they were disbanded and its legionnaires formed a new unit
– 2nd Foreign Regiment (2e RE) was established
1er RE was formed with the Swiss of ex-Swiss Legion (1855-56)
– Swiss Legion (also Second Legion, 2e LE) was formed to fight in Crimea

1857:
Battle of Ischeriden, Grand Kabylie, Algeria (June 24)

1859:
Second Italian War of Independence (April-July)
– on April 19, 2e RE left Africa for Italy

Battle of Magenta (June 4)
– during the battle, the 2e RE’s commander Colonel De Chabrières was killed

Battle of Solferino (June 24)

– on August 14, 2e RE legionnaires paraded in Paris
– it was the first parade in Paris for the Foreign Legion

– on August 22, 2e RE was stationed at Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria

1861:
Foreign Legion reorganization
– in December, an order to dissolve the 1er RE
– its legionnaires would consolidate with the 2e RE

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Italy - Battle of Magenta 1859
Battle of Magenta, Italy. The 2e RE’s commander Colonel De Chabrières was killed during the battle (June 4, 1859)

 

Foreign Regiment – Foreign Legion: 1862 – 1885

1862:
Foreign Regiment (Regiment Etranger, RE)
– on January 1, 2e RE was retitled
– it became the Foreign Regiment (RE)
– RE continued to be based at Sidi Bel Abbes
– in late February, ex-1er RE legionnaires consolidated with the RE

1863 – 1867:
French intervention in Mexico
– two battalions of RE left Africa for Mexico in January 1863
– they landed in Mexico on March 27

Battle of Camerone (April 1863)
– today, the Legion commemorates this battle annually on Camerone Day
– Camerone Day became the most important day for all legionnaires

Siege of Oajacca (Dec 1864 – Feb 1865)
Battle of Santa Isabel (March 1866)
Siege of Matchual (March 1866)

– in November 1866, the war in Mexico ended
– in Mexico, RE lost 31 officers and over 1,500 NCOs and legionnaires

– in February 1867, RE left Mexico for Algeria
– it landed in Algeria on March 26
– RE was based at Mascara (HQ), Sidi Bel Abbes and Saida

1868:
– in February, operations in the Figuig region, Algeria

1870 – 1871:
Franco-Prussian War (July 1870 – May 1871)
– two battalions of RE (1st + 2nd) participated in
– they were mainly involved in fights in Orleans, France

1871:
Paris Commune
– in May, RE legionnaires fought against radical socialists occupying Paris
– legionnaires reseized Paris together with the regular French Army
– in June, the battalions left France for Africa

– in August, the regiment received a provisional flag

1875:
Foreign Legion (LE)
– on March 13, Foreign Regiment changed its designation
– it became simply the Foreign Legion

1881 – 1883:
– military operations against Bou Amama tribe rebels
– the operations took place in the south of Oran, Algeria
first mounted companies were used in operations
– they were equipped with mules

1883 – 1886:
Tonkin Campaign
– the Legion deployed to French Indochina (a peninsula in Southeast Asia)
– it had to operate in Tonkin (the then title of today’s northern Vietnam)
– November 1883, 1st Battalion of LE landed in Tonkin
– February 1884, 2nd Battalion of LE landed in Tonkin
– late 1884, 3rd + 4th Battalion landed in Indochina
– the operations in Tonkin were often part of Sino-French War

Son Tay Campaign (December 1883)
Bac Ninh Campaign (March 1884)
Siege of Tuyen Quang (December 1884 – February 1885)
Lang Son Campaign (February 1885)

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Mexico - Battle of Camerone 1863
Battle of Camerone, Mexico. The RE’s 3rd Company, led by Captain Danjou, was annihilated during the battle (April 30, 1863)

 

2nd Foreign Regiment: 1885 – 1914

1885:
Foreign Legion reorganization
– on December 31, 1884, the Legion devided into two regiments again
– on January 1, 1885, 1er RE + 2e RE were re-established

1886:
– 2e RE was based at Saida again
– it didn’t left this city until 1920

1892 – 1893:
Campaign of French Sudan
– Sudan is a former title for today’s Mali (West Africa)
– in September 1892, a 2e RE company landed at Kayes, Sudan
– it was organized as Mounted Company (Compagnie Montée)
– legionnaires fought against Samori Ture, a regional rebel leader
– in May 1893, the company returned to Algeria

1892 – 1894:
Second Franco-Dahomean War
– it took place near the Gulf of Guinea, in today’s Benin (West Africa)
– two 2e RE companies were involved in
– in March 1894, legionnaires returned to Algeria

1894 – 1895:
Second Campaign of French Sudan
– in February 1894, a 2e RE company left Algeria
– with a 1er RE company, they moved to French Sudan
– 2e RE company was sent to French Guinea
– in 1895, the companies returned to Algeria

1895:
Second Madagascar Expedition
– the French military intervention to annex Madagascar
– the expedition occurred between April and December
– two 2e RE companies took part in

1896 – 1905:
Madagascar pacification
– it lasted from August 1896 until July 1905
– legionnaires helped to maintain order on the island
– two companies of 2e RE redeployed to Madagascar
– in 1900, a 2e RE battalion deployed to Madagascar
– it became Diego Suarez Foreign Battalion
– in July 1905, last legionnaires left Madagascar

1900:
Discovery Expedition
– April-July, a discovery expedition in the Timimoun region, Algeria
– the expedition crossed the Grand Erg Occidental (Western Sand Sea)
– it is the second largest erg (sand sea) in northern Algeria
– two 2e RE companies carried out this expedition
– they made over 1,800 km (1,100 miles) through sand dunes in 72 days

First Battle of El Moungar (July 30)
– the southern border of Morocco and Algeria
– 22nd Mounted Company (Compagnie Montée) of 2e RE took part in
– it was the first battle which occurred at El Moungar

1900 – 1915:
Tonkin pacification
– September 1900 – June 1915
– 2e RE deployed again to northern Vietnam in French Indochina
– in Sept 1900, three 2e RE battalions (3rd + 4th + 6th)
– in 1902, Foreign Legion Tonkin Regimental Combat Team (RMLE Tonkin)
– formed with battalions of 1er RE (1st + 2nd) and 2e RE (3rd + 4th)
– in December 1907, RMLE Tonkin was disbanded
– since 1908, only one 2e RE battalion (5th) operated in Tonkin
– in June 1915, 5th Battalion of 2e RE was disbanded
– its remaining elements consolidated with a 1er RE battalion

1903:
Battle of El Moungar
– the battle occurred on September 2
– it took place on the southern border of Morocco and Algeria
– 22nd Mounted Company (Compagnie Montée), Captain Vauchez
– 8 hours of fierce fighting against around 3,000 Berbers
– Captain Vauchez + Lieutenant Selchauhansen (Danish officer) were killed
– from 113 legionnaires, 34 were killed + 47 seriously wounded
– the battle is annually commemorated by the 2e RE

1907-1934:
Pacification of Morocco
– the Foreign Legion was fully involved in
– in 1907, France intervened in Morocco and occupied it
– many local tribes started rebellions against the French
– in 1912, French protectorate in Morocco was created
– in 1934, the Pacification of Morocco successfully ended

1907:
1st Regimental Combat Team
– on August 29, 1er Régiment de Marche (1er RM/2e RE) was established
– 1er RM/2e RE was formed to be deployed to Morocco
– it will participate in the Pacification of Morocco
– 1er RM/2e RE was formed by two battalions of 2e RE

– in September, French forces landed in Morocco
– they seized Casablanca, Morocco’s chief port
– both Legion regiments were involved in
– 1er RM/2e RE was stationed at Casablanca

1911:
– in August, 3rd Battalion of 2e RE was activated
– it deployed to Morocco to be based in the Oujda region

1912:
Capture of Sefrou in Morocco (January)
– 3rd Mounted Company (CM) of 1er RM/2e RE participated in

French protectorate in Morocco
– on March 30, a protectorate was formally established in Morocco

– May-July, a rebellion in Fez (the capital) was calmed down
– 3rd Mounted Company of 1er RM/2e RE took part in
– in early July, fights at Souk El Tnine and Moulay Bou Chta

1912 – 1914:
– November 1912 – April 1914, CM of 1er RM/2e RE built a road
– the road is located between Fez, Petitjean and Kenitra

1913:
Moroccan Mounted Company (Compagnie Montée du Maroc, CMM)
– in 1913, 3rd Mounted Company of 1er RM/2e RE changed its title
– it became the CMM, still assigned to 2e RE

Algerian Mounted Company (Compagnie Montée d’Algerie, CMA)
– in 1913, 14th Mounted Company of 2e RE changed its title
– it became the CMA, still assigned to 2e RE
– the company operated in the Oran region, Algeria
– in 1922, it was assigned to 1er RE
– in 1939, it became Motorized Company
– the unit was based at Khenchela, Algeria

1914:
– in May 1914, operations against rebels in the Taza region
– CMM of 1er RM/2e RE was involved in
– these operations helped to interconnect Morocco and Algeria

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Madagascar - Second Madagascar Expedition 1895
Legionnaires during the Second Madagascar Expedition (1895)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Saida 1900
Saida, Algeria. The entrance to then 2e RE’s HQ (early 1900s)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - El Moungar 1903
A military chaplain (De Foucauld, in the middle) with 2e RE legionnaires wounded during the Battle of El Moungar (September 1903)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - Bou Denib 1910
Machine Guns Platoon of the 2e RE at Bou Denib, Morocco (around 1910)

 

2nd Foreign Regiment: 1914 – 1922

1914 – 1918:
– World War I
– France, including the Foreign Legion, participated in

1914:
– for France, World War I started on August 3

– on August 17, 4th Battalion/2e RE was sent to France
– it helped to form the 2e RM/2e RE to fight in France
– half of men of 2e RM/2e RE were non-legionnaires
– they joined the French Army as volunteers for the war period
– 1914-15, 2e RM/2e RE was involved in fierce fightings
– they took place near Craonne, Aisne, Souain, Navarin

– 1er RM/2e RE continued to serve in Morocco
– it was formed by two 2e RE battalions (3rd + 6th) + CMM
– its legionnaires were Germans and Austrians in the majority

1915:
Foreign Legion Regimental Combat Team (RMLE)
– in November 1915, 2e RM/2e RE was disbanded
– its legionnaires helped to form a new unit
– Legion’s Régiment de Marche (RMLE) was activated
– in 1920, RMLE became the 3rd Foreign Regiment (3e RE)

Foreign Legion Battalion (Bataillon de Légion Etrangère, BLE)
– in February 1915, 2e RE helped to form a new battalion
– it became part of the 1st African Regimental Combat Team (1er RMA)
– in 1915-1917, it fought in the Balkans Campaign
– in October 1917, the battalion was disbanded
– it was only the second Legion unit to receive the Fourragère

– in 1915, 1er RM/2e RE took part in several battles in Morocco
– it fought in the Bou-Ladjeraf and Si-Ahmed-Zerouk regions
– it also took part in operations in the Moyen Atlas mountains
– in November, a battle near Sidi Abder-Rhaman

1916:
– 1er RM/2e RE continued in operations in Morocco
– operations in the Ifrane, Tadla and Bou-Denib regions

Bou Denib Mixed Battalion
– in April, a mixed battalion was formed in Algeria
– formed by legionnaires and colonial troops
– two 2e RE (penal?) companies
– two penal Bataillon d’Afrique companies
– the battalion was sent to Bou Denib (eastern Morocco)
– the unit had to carried out several tasks there
– it built new military outposts in the region of Bou Denib
– it provided protection for military convoys
– it launched operations against local rebels
– it fought at Aoufouz, El Maadid, Dar El Beida
– the battalion was disbanded in late 1918
– its legionnaires stayed in the region until 1919
– they were building military barracks in Erfoud

1917:
Battle of Skoura, Morocco (July 8)
– the battle occurred south of Fez, the then capital
– 1er RM/2e RE (mainly the Mounted Company, CMM) participated in
– 42 killed + 33 wounded legionnaires
– CMM received its third mention in the order of the Army

1918:
World War I ended
– an armistice with Germany was signed on November 11

1919:
– in 1919, the 2e RE was deactivated
– the depot was still located at Saida, Algeria
– its 6th Battalion (around 200 men only) operated independently in Morocco

1920:
– in November, 6th Battalion of 2e RE helped to form a new unit
4th Foreign Regiment (4e RE) was activated in Morocco
– the battalion of 2e RE became the 4th Battalion of 4e RE

2nd Foreign Regiment reactivation
– on December 9, a new 2nd Foreign Regiment was born
– it was reactivated in Saida
– the new 2e RE was composed of freshly trained legionnaires
– its mission was to operate in Morocco again
– in 1920-21, 2e RE (comprising 2 battalions) left definitively Saida

1921:
– in January 1921, 2e RE was fully based in Morocco
– its HQ + depot were placed at Meknes

– in February, 4th Battalion of 4e RE rejoined the 2e RE
– it became the 3rd Battalion of 2e RE

– a 2e RE battalion deployed to Indochina
– it was named the 4th Battalion of 2e RE
– in 1926, it became the 9th Battalion of 1e REI (ex-1er RE)
– in 1930, the battalion helped to form a new regiment
– it was retitled to the 3rd Battalion of 5e REI

1921-1934:
Pacification of Morocco
– the regiment took part in the second phase of the Pacification
– in 1934, the Pacification of Morocco successfully ended

1922:
Mounted Company
– on January 1, Moroccan Mounted Company (CMM) was assigned to 2e REI
– it became its Monted Company (CM) again

– in June, 2e RE was redesignated
– it became 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI)

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - France - WWI - RMLE 1917
Legionnaires from RMLE at France, during WWI (1917)

 

2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment: 1922 – 1939

1922:
2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI)
– in June, the regiment changed its designation

1923:
– 2e REI took part in operations in Morocco
– on June 24, operations at El Mers
– in July, operations at Ait Maklouf and Immouzer
– in August, fighting at Djebel Idrane (Djebel – a mountain or a range)
– in September, Siege of Souk Ait Bazza

1st Mounted Company
– in October 1923, CM changed its designation
– it became the 1st Mounted Company (1re CM)
– in 1930, while based at Ksar Es Souk, it became CM again

2nd Mounted Company
– in October 1923, a second mounted company was formed
– it became the 2nd Mounted Company (2e CM)
– in October 1930, it became the 2nd Motorized Mounted Company (2e CMM)
– in July 1931, 2e CMM was assigned to 1er REI (ex-1er RE)
– in February 1933, 2e CMM became Motorized Company (CA) of 1er REI
– in 1940, CA/1er REI changed its title and became independent
Foreign Legion Saharan Motorized Company (CSPLE, future 1re CSPL) was born

1925:
– in May, operations at Bibane

1926:
– in May, operations at Iskritten
– in August, Siege of Arbala

1930:
– in May, the battle of Hassi Merdane
– in August, the battle of Tadighoust

1932:
Artillery Battery (Batterie d’Artillerie)
– on May 15, a provisional Artillery Battery was created
– in September 1939, the battery changed its title
– it became Motorized Battery (Batterie Portée)
– in April 1943, it was assigned to 3e REI (ex-3e RE)
– the battery was disbanded at Fez in February 1944

Battle of Tazigzaout (August-September)
– 2e REI fought at Tazigzaout, the Haut Atlas mountains
– this battle was one of the last fightings with rebels in Morocco

February 1933:
Battle of Bou Gafer (February 24-28)
– Mounted Companies (CM) from 2e REI + 3e REI took part in
– Motorized Company (CA) from 1er REI also participated in
– the battle was part of operations in the Djebel Sagho
– two officers + a number of legionnaires were killed

1934 – 1939:
– in 1934, the Pacification of Morocco ended
– the regiment could take a rest
– 2e REI conducted infrastructure construction missions
– the legionnaires also maintained order in the region

1939:
– 2e RE sent its 2nd Battalion to Levant (Syria and Lebanon now)
– in Lebanon in October, it became the 3rd Battalion of 6e REI

– in June, 4th Battalion of 2e REI was formed
– in January 1940, it became a new 2nd Battalion

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - Mounted Company
2e REI’s Mounted Company during an operation in Morocco (early 1930s)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - Mounted Company -Ksar Es Souk
2e REI’s Mounted Company during a Christmas Eve’s dinner at its HQ of Ksar Es Souk, Morocco (December 24, 1938)

 

2e REI – RMLE/EO: World War II 1939 – 1945

1939:
World War II (Second World War) started on September 1
– France, including the Foreign Legion, participated in

– between October and February, 2e REI helped to form several units
– 11e REI, 12e REI, 13e DBMLE (later 13e DBLE)

1940:
Battle of France (May 10 – June 22)
– France was defeated
– Armistice signed by Nazi Germany and France on June 22
– for France, WWII temporarily ended

Reorganization of 2e REI
– on November 15, 2e REI and 4e REI (ex-4e RE) were deactivated
– the same day, a new regiment was officially organized
– it was stationed at Marrakech (former garrison of 4e REI)
– the new regiment was named the 2e REI
– the new 2e REI was composed of 3 battalions + 3 artillery batteries
– each battalion consisted of 3 companies + a mixed motorized company (CMP)
– 4e CMP (1st Bn), 8e CMP (2nd Bn), 12e CMP (3rd Bn)

Mounted Company (CM) of 2e REI left the regiment
– it was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3e REI
– it became its 12th Mixed Mounted Company (12e Compagnie Mixte-Montée, 12e CMM)
– the company was still based at Ksar Es Souk
– in 1944, it consolidated with 8e CMM of 3e REI

1940 – 1942:
– 2e REI conducted infrastructure construction missions
– it also maintained order in the region and took part in military exercises

– in 1941, a group of 2e REI legionnaires was building a railroad in Algeria

1942:
British-American invasion of French North Africa (Operation Torch)
– the invasion occurred between November 8-10
– landings in Morocco and Algeria
– all French forces in North Africa received an order to cease resistance
– on November 10, the French in North Africa joined the Allies

3rd Foreign Infantry Regimental Combat Team (3e REIM)
– the unit was activated on December 15
– it was composed of 3 battalions
– a battalion of 2e REI (ex-3rd), two battalions of 3e REI
– in late December, 3e REIM moved by train to Tunisia
– its task was to fight against the Africa Corps of Marshal Rommel
– in January, the unit suffered heavy casualties
– 3e REIM was disbanded in May 1943

1943:
2e REI deactivation
– on March 31, 2e REI was deactivated
– its batteries + motorized companies were attached to 3e REI
– the batteries were disbanded in 1944
– the motorized companies formed a new group (GCMP) in 1944
– in 1947, it became Foreign Legion Moroccan Motorized Group (GPLEM)

1944:
– in late 1944, a Legion company was organized at Bedeau, Algeria
– in 1945, the unit expanded into a battalion
– its purpose would be to fight the Japanese in the Pacific

1945:
World War II ended in Europe
– on May 8, Germany signed the surrender documents
– it officially ended the war in Europe
– however, the Japanese continued to fight

Far East RMLE (RMLE d’Extrême Orient, RMLE/EO)
– RMLE/EO was created on August 1
– formed with the battalion of Bedeau + a newly created battalion
– RMLE/EO was based at Chanzy, Algeria
– later that year, it was placed close to Sidi Bel Abbes
– its task would be to fight the Japanese in French Indochina

World War II ended
– on September 2, Japan finally signed the surrender documents
– it officially ended the war

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - 4e CMP - 4th Motorized Mixed Company
Insignia of the 2e REI’s 4th Mixed Motorized Company, established in November 1940 and based at Ouarzazate, Morocco. The insignia was created in July 1941. In 1943, the company was assigned to the 3e REI and became its 15th Motorized Company, to maintain order in Morocco during WWII. In 1946, the unit left 3e REI and in 1947, it became 3rd Motorized Company of GPLEM (Moroccan Group).

 

2e REI: First Indochina War 1946 – 1954

1945 – 1946:
First Indochina War started
– French Indochina reffers to French colonial territories in Southeast Asia
– in Indochina, a conflict started between the French and Ho Chi Minh
– Ho Chi Minh led the Viet-Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam)
– Viet Minh was a nationalist and (later) pro-Soviet Union movement
– in September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared independence from France for Vietnam
– clashes between French forces and the Viet Minh started
– in 1946, first Foreign Legion units landed in Indochina

1946:
2e REI re-establishment
– RMLE/EO was retitled
– it became the 2e REI on January 1
– 2e REI was composed of HQ + 3 battalions

– on January 10, 2e REI left Africa for Indochina
– it was the first Legion unit sent from Africa to join the First Indochina War

1946:
– February 6, 2e REI landed in Indochina
– its HQ was stationed at Nha Trang, Annam (today’s central Vietnam)

– on March 11, near Nha Trang, first clashes with the Viet Minh
– a platoon from 3rd Battalion was involved in
– an officer was killed

Far East Foreign Regiments Disciplinary Company
– on June 1, a Disciplinary Company was established
Compagnie de Discipline des Régiments Etrangers en Extrême-Orient (CDRE/EO)
– CDRE was based on the Tagne Island
– the island is located near the coast of central Annam, close to Nha Trang
– CDRE/EO was assigned to the 2e REI
– it was disbanded in August 1955

December 1946:
– 1st Battalion moved to Tonkin (today’s northern Vietnam)
– it was based along RC5 (Colonial Road), in the Hai Duong region

1947:
– in March, deadly clashes at Sept Pagodes and Dong Trieu, Tonkin
– 1st Battalion/2e REI participated in

– in April, severe fighting at Kien An, Tonkin for 1st Battalion

1948:
– in March, severe fighting with Viet Minh rebels for 3rd Battalion

– in May, 1st Battalion/2e REI was sent to Algeria
– many of its legionnaires were killed or wounded
– a vast majority of its legionnaires had also their prescribed two-year-long stay in Indochina finished
– in Algeria, the 1st Battalion was deactivated

Armored Train (Train Blindé)
– since November 1948, 2e REI operated an armored train, Train Blindé
– the train was nicknamed Rafale
– the train was able to go 72 hours without stopping
– it was equipped with several canons, mortars and machine guns
– it provided supplies to the French forces in Annam
– it also maintained the railroad passable
– it cleared tracks of mines and repaired them when necessary
– the train was occupied by some 90 armed men
– between 1950-52, three armored trains existed within the 2e REI

1949:
– in January, a new 1st Battalion landed in Indochina
– it was based in the Tourane region, Annam

– in April, 3rd Battalion fought off Viet Minh attackers near Ninh Hoa
– over 30 rebels were killed

– in July-August, operations for 3rd Battalion near Tam Quan and Tinh Tho, Annam
– the Viet Minh lost about 150 men

– in December, 4th Battalion of 2e REI was formed in Algeria
– in February 1950, the battalion landed in Indochina
– 4th Battalion was based at Quang Tri, Annam

1950:
– in February, clashes with the Viet Minh along RC1 for 1st Battalion/2e REI
– around 100 men from the Viet Minh were killed
– 2e REI lost several legionnaires + its battalion commander (Lt Col Le Toulec)

– in June, heavy fights with the Viet Minh near Quang Tri for 4th Battalion
– the Viet Minh lost over 200 men

1951:
– in May, 1st Battalion left Annam to be based in Tonkin
– legionnaires conducted operations in the Tonkin Delta and built outposts

– on May 17, LST Adour shipboard fire accident
– over 80 French troops were killed, over 100 wounded
– the accident occurred at the harbor of Nha Trang, the garrison of 2e REI
– many legionnaires from 3rd Battalion/2e REI died during the accident

– in June, 3rd Battalion was based in the Tonkin Delta
– they mostly participated in building outposts

– in July, 2nd Battalion also moved to Tonkin to operate in the Tonkin Delta
– 4th Battalion moved to the Tourane region, Annam

– in December, hard fighting along RP 21 (Provincial Road), Cho Ben region
– 1st + 3rd Battalion were involved in
– on December 13, about 150 Viet Minh soldiers were killed
– on December 30, 12th Company, 3rd Battalion got involved in severe attack
– the company was nearly annihilated
– it lost over 70 legionnaires + 26 wounded

1952:
– in March, Operation Ouragan
– 3rd Battalion/2e REI + 2e BEP + 8th Squadron of 1er REC took part in

– on April 15, 10th Company, 3rd Battalion was attacked near Lao Cao
– the company lost about 90 men + 25 were wounded

– in June, clashes near Phu Ly for 2nd Battalion
– about 50 Viet Minh soldiers were killed

– in August, 3rd Battalion was based back in Annam (central Vietnam)

– in October, fierce fighting near Ke Sat, Tonkin Delta for 1st Battalion
– more than 100 Viets were killed, 2e REI lost over 20 men

– in November-December, Operation Lorainne and Operation Bretagne
– 1st + 2nd Battalion took part in
– on November 17, 2nd Battalion lost over 70 legionnaires in Operation Lorainne

– on December 24, Battle of Hung My
– 1st Battalion legionnaires were involved in
– Viet Minh lost over 130 men

1953:
– in January, Operation Artois and Operation Normandie
– 1st + 2nd Battalion of 2e REI + two battalions of 13e DBLE participated in
– Viet Minh lost over 170 men

– in May, 2nd Battalion left Vietnam and deployed to Laos
– severe fighting for 4th Battalion in the Tourane region

– in September-October, Operation Brochet
– 1st Battalion/2e REI + 2nd Battalion of 5e REI + 2e BEP took part in

– in October, 4th Battalion moved back to Quang Tri

1954:
– in January, 1st Battalion moved to Dien Bien Phu
– Dien Bien Phu is a 12 miles (8 km) long and 3 miles (2 km) wide valley
– it is located in the northwestern Vietnam
– the valley lies about 10 miles (16 km) from the border with Laos

– 1st Battalion/2e REI was based at Huguette
– Huguette was one of several strongholds built to defend Dien Bien Phu
– every stronghold consisted of several fortified outposts

– on January 9, clashes with rebels for 4th Battalion
– Viet Minh lost over 90 men

– in March-May, Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– 1st Battalion/2e REI was involved in, composed of about 630 men
– during the battle, the battalion lost over 250 men
– another 200 of its men were wounded
– the survived legionnaires were imprisoned and went to POW camps
– only a few of them survived the Viet Minh camps

– in April, Operation Condor
– a French composite arms group, including 2nd Battalion/2e REI, was formed
– its mission was to move by foot to Vietnam
– in Vietnam, the group had to join the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
– on May 8, the group was informed about the fall of Dien Bien Phu
– the operation was terminated
– the group had to fight their way back to Laos
– a lot of legionnaires died of exhaustion

– on June 1, the annihilated 1st Battalion/2e REI was deactivated
– the same day, 4th Battalion/2e REI changed its title
– it became a new 1st Battalion

– in July, severe clashes for 1st Battalion on RC19, Annam (central Vietnam)

First Indochina War ended
– the war in Indochina ended on August 1
– France had to leave northern Vietnam
– in 1956, French troops had to leave the entire Indochina pensisula

– in August, 1st Battalion moved back to regimental HQ at Nha Trang, Annam
– in September, 2nd Battalion left Laos to be based back in Annam, Vietnam

1955:
– in January-February, 2e REI left Indochina for Africa

– in Indochina, 2e REI lost 55 officers, 203 NCOs and 1,142 legionnaires

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - RMLE-EO - RMLE/EO - insignia - insigne
RMLE/EO + 2e REI’s insignias. The insignia of RMLE/EO was created in Algeria in 1945. The 2e REI adopted it with decent modifications in Indochina in 1946. It became the first distinctive unit insignia of the 2e REI.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Indochina - Annam - Nha Trang 1948
Nha Trang, central Vietnam, French Indochina (April 30, 1948). In their garrison town, 2e REI legionnaires celebrate Camerone Day, the most important day of the modern Legion. During this event, all Legion’s units commemorate the famous battle of 1863.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Indochina - Vietnam - Tonkin 1953
2e REI officers with a captured flag of the Viet Minh during Operation Brochet, which took place in the Red River region, northern Vietnam, French Indochina (September 1953)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Indochina - Vietnam - Operation Brochet 1953
2e REI legionnaires during Operation Brochet, French Indochina (September 1953)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Indochina - Vietnam - Train Blinde - Armored Train 1953
Legionnaires operate a Bofors 40 mm gun of the Armored Train (Train blindé, nicknamed Rafale) of 2e REI in central Vietnam, French Indochina (late 1953)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Indochina - Vietnam - Foreign Regiments Disciplinary Company - CDRE-EO
The barracks of the feared Far East Foreign Regiments Disciplinary Company (CDRE/EO) on the Tagne Island, central Vietnam (late 1954 – early 1955). Note the “Legion” sign on the extreme right.

 

2e REI: Tunisia and Morocco 1955 – 1956

1954 – 1955:
Algerian War started
– in North Africa, local rebels intensified military actions
– these actions took part in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria
– they were aimed at French forces presented in these regions
– the main rebel force fighting the French was the FLN
– FLN stands for National Liberation Front
– later in 1955, that operations escalated to the Algerian War

1955:
– on February 23, 2e REI returned from Indochina
– it landed at Bizerte, Tunisia
– its units were based at Tabarka, Kef, Ain Draham, Souk El Arba
– its mission was to maintain order in the region

– on May 31, 3rd Battalion was disbanded
– its legionnaires reinforced the remaining battalions

– in July, 3rd Battalion re-established
– on July 1, 1st Battalion of 6e REI was assigned to the 2e REI
– 6e REI, formed with a 2e REI battalion in 1939, was deactivated in 1941
– in 1949, it was re-activated in Tunisia to maintain order there
– reduced to a single battalion, it merged with the 2e REI
– it became its new 3rd Battalion

– July-August, 2nd Battalion patrolled near the Tunisian border with Algeria

Operation Timgad
– in September, first clashes on the Tunisian border with Algeria
– operations near Cheria and Djerf, Tebessa region, north-eastern Algeria
– 2nd Battalion/2e REI took part in
– several Legion units also participated in
– dozens of rebels killed

– in September, 2e REI also started to move itself to Morocco
– 2e REI legionnaires (1st Bn) returned to Morocco after 12,5 years

1956:
– in early January 1956, 2e REI was fully stationed in Morocco
– the regiment was placed in the Rif mountains
– it conducted operations to search and eliminate rebels

Attack of Taineste
– on January 28, 3rd Battalion (ex-1st Bn/6e REI) was attacked
– the attack occurred at Taineste, Taza region
– Moroccan rebels killed 1 officer + 17 legionnaires
– 43 rebels were also killed

Independence of Morocco
– in March 1956, Morocco gained its independence
– all French units had to move to Algeria

Attack of Sidi Mejbeur
– on March 2, a convoy formed by men from 3rd Battalion was attacked
– the attack took place near Sidi Mejbeur, Taza region
– Moroccan rebels killed 2 officer + 6 legionnaires

– on June 28, 2e REI started to move to Algeria

– in Morocco, 3 officers + 5 NCOs + 35 legionnaires were killed

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Tunisia 1955
Tunis, Tunisia. The regimental color of 2e REI decorated by General Baillif with the Croix de Guerre des T.O.E. (Foreign Theater Operations War Cross) + one palm (November 11, 1955). The regiment gained this award for its actions in French Indochina.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - 1956
2e REI legionnires during an operation in the Taza region, Morocco (1956)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Morocco - Taineste 1956
Taza, Morocco. Paying hommage to the 18 men from 3rd Battalion, 2e REI (ex-1st Bn, 6e REI), killed during the Attack of Taineste on January 28, 1956. (January 31, 1956)

 

2e REI: Algerian War 1956 – 1962

1956:
– in July, 2e REI moved to Algeria
– its battalions were based in the Djidjelli region
– 2e REI’s HQ was based at Ziama Mansouria

2e REI reorganization
– in September, 2e REI was reorganized
– it would become the first motorized infantry regiment of the Legion

– HQ + Depot of 2e REI were based at Ain Sefra
– Ain Sefra is located in western Algeria, near the Sahara
– companies from 2nd Battalion became motorized
– 1st Motorized Company (1re CP) + 2e CP + 3e CP were created
– 1st Group of Motorized Companies (GCP1, ex-2nd Bn) was born
– it consisted of 1re CP + 2e CP + 3e CP of ex-2nd Bn
– these companies were organized as Saharan motorized units
– in October, GCP1/2e REI was also based at Ain Sefra

– on September 30, 3rd Battalion was disbanded

– in October, an independent GPLEA motorized group was disbanded
– its 3 motorized companies consolidated with 2e REI
– they became 4e, 5e, 6e CP of 2e REI and formed its GCP2
– until March 1957, they served independently in the region of its origin

– also in October, operations at Djebel Amour
– in November, operations at Djebel Beni Smir
– on December 31, 1st Battalion was disbanded

1957 – 1962:
– 2e REI conducted operations in the Ain Sefra and Colomb Bechar regions
– it also patrolled in the Ksours mountains

1957:
– in March, GCP2 (ex-GPLEA) of 2e REI moved to the Ain Sefra region
– its HQ was based at Geryville

– in April, operations at Djebel Mekter
– in June, 2e REI fought at Djebel Mzi

1958 – 1961:
– 2e REI guarded the Algerian border with Morocco
– the FLN rebels wanted to cross the border to supply its fighters
– the border was mined and electrified in 1958

1958:
– in January-February, large operation in the Geryville region
– all companies of the regiment took part in
– on January 22, an officer (S-Ltn Ballot) was killed at Djebel Tamedda

– in April and June, operations at Djebel Aissa

1959:
– in January and August, fighting at Djebel Alouatt + in the Messine valley

– on November 23, heavy fights at Djebel Bechar
– 23 rebels were killed

1960:
– in January, 2e REI was still based in the Ain Sefra region
– GCP1 was based at Ain Sefra
– GCP2, having left Geryville, was placed at Djenien Bou Rezg

Operation Promethee
– the operation occurred between April and November
– it took place in the mountains of the Geryville region

– on April 18, clashes at Djebel Chemarikh
– almost 30 rebels killed or imprisoned

– May 6-7, fierce fighting at Djebel Mzi
– 2e REI fought against a rebel battalion
– 159 rebels were killed or imprisoned

– on November 3, operation at Ain Douiss
– 36 rebels killed

– on December 3-4, operation at Djebel Beni Smir
– 3 companies of 2e REI were transported by helicopters
– 79 rebels killed
Djebel Beni Smir resistance
– during the operation, Sergeant Sanchez-Iglésias + 4 legionnaires were cut off
– they had to resist a large group of rebels all day long
– Sergeant Sanchez ordered not to surrender and fight till the finish
– his group had resisted for more than 12 hours
– then a reinforcement came to help the legionnaires
– the rebels were fought off

1961:
Battle of El Ardja
– on February 21, severe fighting for 2e REI
– it took place on the Algeria-Morocco border
– in the palm grove of Teniet Ben Saied
– 96 rebels were killed, 50 imprisoned

– on March 15, an operation at Djebel Goursifane
– 44 rebels killed or imprisoned

– in April and May, operations at Djebel Aissa and Djebel Saiga

1962:
– in January, operations at Mergueb-Mesrane

– in March, Algerian War officially ended
– Évian Accords treaty, signed on March 18, ended the Algerian War
– on July 5, Independence of Algeria was declared
– however, military operations were conducted until September 1962
– on September 25, the Algerian republic was established

– in Algeria, 2e REI lost 14 officers, 37 NCOs and 214 legionnaires

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Insignia - Insigne - 1957
2e REI’s insignia created by Colonel Goujon in Algeria in 1957. Since then, the 2e REI insignia hasn’t been changed.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - 1956
Misha, the mascot of 2e REI (1956). The bear was adopted by the 8th Company in the Luang Prabang region of Laos in 1954 and brought to North Africa in 1955.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - AM M8 Greyhound 1956
An AMM8 (M8 Greyhound) of the 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI in the Ain Sefra region, western Algeria (October 1956). The regiment received these armored cars the same month, to become the first fully motorized infantry regiment of the Legion.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - operation 1959
AMM8 armored cars of 2e REI during an operation in the Ain Sefra region, western Algeria (1959)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Ain Sefra 1958
Ain Sefra, western Algeria (1958). The HQ of the 2e REI at Redoute Clavery (Clavery Redoubt), the barracks built in the early 1900s by several French Army pioneers, including legionnaires. Many Foreign Legion units had been stationed there between early 1900s-1962.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Harka 1960
Harka of the 2e REI (1960). Composed of local pro-French muslim volunteers (Harkas or Harkis), the unit was led by Legion cadres. Every regiment had its own harka at that time.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Djebel Chemarikh 1960
Djebel Chemarikh. A legionnaire from 2e REI (bearing a MAS 36 rifle with attached grenade) and a captured FLN rebel (1960)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Operation Promethee 1960
Legionnaires from 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI, already wearing the Leopard fatigues, during Operation Promethee (June 1960)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Djebel Beni Smir - Sergent Sanchez 1960
Sergeant Sanchez-Iglesias (right) and his legionnaires (Corporal Galejski + legionnaires Gerlich, Hortzkow, Dahrnen), the heroes of Djebel Beni Smir (December 1960). Encircled by a large group of rebels, Sergeant Sanchez ordered not to surrender and fight till the finish. These 5 legionnaires from the 1st Company, 2e REI resisted during next 12 hours until the reinforcement arrived and fought off the enemy.

 

2e REI: Algeria 1962 – 1967

1962:
– in October, 2e REI left Ain Sefra
– it was based in the Colomb Bechar region

1963:
– in March, Saharan motorized companies were disbanded
– two of them consolidated with 2e REI
4e CSPL became the 2nd Motorized Company/2e REI
1er ESPL became the 5th Motorized Company/2e REI

– in April, 2e REI finished its new base, Camp Crozé
– it was named after Louis de Crozé de Clesmes
– he served as a young lieutenant in 2e REI
– in 1960, he became the last 2e REI officer killed in the Algerian War
– Camp Crozé was placed at Colomb Bechar

Saharan Disciplinary Platoon
– in 1963, Section de Discipline du Sahara (SDS) was assigned to 2e REI
– the platoon was the successor to the CDRE (Disciplinary Company)
– it was based at Djenien Bou Rezg (since 1955, as CDRE)
– SDS was disbanded in July 1964

– in November 1963, 2e REI was based at:

    HQ + Depot – Camp Crozé of Colomb Bechar
    1re CPAbadla (disbanded on Dec 31)
    2e CPCamp Cailleux, Colomb Bechar (ex-4e CSPL)
    3e CP – Camp Crozé of Colomb Bechar
    4e CPDjenane
    5e CPBeni Abbes (ex-1er ESPL)
    6e CPTabelbala
    SDSDjenien Bou Rezg

– 2e REI tasks were to guard French nuclear and space centers
– these centers were based in the Sahara near Colomb Bechar

1964:
4e REI dissolution
– on April 25, 4e REI (re-created in the late 1940s) was disbanded
– 3 of its companies consolidated with 2e REI
– 7e CP was established (ex-4e CP, 2e REI) to become a training unit

1965:
5th Heavy Carrier Transportation Company
– in May, 5e CTGP (5e Compagnie de Transport Gros Porteurs) was established
– ex-6e CP of 4e REI
– equipped with Berliet trucks
– the company was based at Reggane, southern Algeria
– Reggane is a town deep in the Sahara
– at that time, it served as an important nuclear testing site
– because of the ending French rule, the site had to be evacuated
– 5e CTGP helped to evacuate the site
– it pased many thousands kilometers in the Sahara
– the company was disbanded on June 30, 1967

1967:
– in July, 2e REI was regrouped and left the Sahara
– it was stationed at Mers El Kebir
– a port town in northwestern Algeria, located by the Mediterranean Sea
– Mers El Kebir was the last French joint military base in Algeria
– at Mers El Kebir, 2e REI replaced the 2e REP (ex-2e BEP)

2e REI reorganization
– between July and December, 2e REI was reorganized
– the regiment was reduced
– its men helped to form new Legion units
– for example, in Madagascar, 1st Squadron of 3e REI

1968:
2e REI deactivation
– in January, 2e REI left Algeria
– it was officially deactivated on January 31
– its men joined remaining Legion units

– only its 1st Company stayed in Algeria, at Mers El Kebir
– it became Company Team (Compagnie de Marche, CM)
– CM was assigned to the 1er RE (ex-1er REI)
– CM/1er RE guarded the runway at the base of Mers El Kebir
– it was the last Legion unit to be present in Algeria
– it left Algeria in August 1968

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Colomb Bechar 1962
Colomb Bechar, Algeria. The provisional HQ of the 2e REI after the regiment left Ain Sefra (1962)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - Colomb Bechar - Camp Croze 1965
Camp Crozé, Colomb Bechar, Algeria (1965). The new HQ of the 2e REI, named after its last officer killed during the Algerian War, Lieutenant Louis de Crozé de Clesmes. His father(?), Captain Crozé, an intelligence service officer with the 2e REI in French Indochina, was killed in October 1946.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - 4e CSPL - Tabelbala 1965
Tabelbala, in the Sahara of western Algeria (1965). The Armored Platoon, 2nd Motorized Company, 2e REI parading in its traditional Saharan uniform, adopted from the pre-1963 period, when the company served as an independent unit, the 4e CSPL (Saharan Motorized Company).
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - 5e CTGP - Reggane 1965
A Berliet truck of the 5e CTGP (Heavy Carrier Transportation Company), 2e REI, at its outpost of Reganne, southern Algeria (1965). Deep in the Sahara desert, the company helped to evacuate the French nuclear testing site.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Algeria - El Moungar 1966
The color guard of 2e REI at the site of the 1903 Battle of Moungar, to commemorate the fallen legionnaires from its 22nd Mounted Company (September 1966).
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - France - Aubagne 1968
The color guard of 2e REI at the HQ of the Legion at Aubagne, France, during the dissolution ceremony (January 1968).

 

2e RE, 2e REI: Corsica 1972 – 1983

1971:
Foreign Legion Task Force (Groupement Operationnel de Légion Etrangère, GOLE)
– on August 1, GOLE was established
– it would be a rapid reaction force of the Legion
– GOLE was composed of 4 companies
– three combat companies (5th, 6th, 7th) + HQ Company (CAS)
– for an intervention, 4th Squadron of 1er REC could be assigned to GOLE
– GOLE was based at the Montlaur citadel, Bonifacio, Corsica

1972:
2e RE reactivation
– on September 1, 2e REI was reactivated as 2e RE
– it grouped GOLE + GILE
– GILE was a training unit of the Legion, having left Algeria in 1962
– GILE was based at Corte and Bonifacio, Corsica

1976:
– in February, Loyada Rescue Mission
– GOLE was sent to Djibouti
– it was its first intervention mission

– in May, 1976 Djibouti Accident
– 6 legionnaires from 2e RE’s GOLE were killed

– in October, GILE left Corsica for Castelnaudary, France
– in France in November, GILE was assigned to the 1er RE
– in 1980, the unit became 4e RE

1977:
GOLE dissolution
– on July 31, GOLE was disbanded
– its companies were assigned directly to 2e RE

1978 – 1979:
Operation Tacaud
– an operation in Chad, a country in northern Central Africa
– in June, Groupement ATI was formed
– it was composed of 2e RE + 1er REC + 2e REP elements
– it was disbanded in September 1979

1980:
– on July 1, 2e RE became 2e REI again

1982:
– 2e REI received its first VAB vehicles

1983:
Multinational Force in Lebanon (Operation Diodon III)
– between May and September, 2e REI was placed in Lebanon
– it fulfilled an international peacekeeping mission
– 1er REC + 2e REP also participated in the misssion
– during the mission, at least 89 French soldiers were killed
– 7 legionnaires from 2e REI were among those killed

2e REI left Corsica for France
– in September, 2e REI started to leave Corsica
– the regiment will be based at Nimes, southern France
– on September 9, 2e REI left Corsica for Nimes
– also in September, 2e REI units left Lebanon

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Corsica - Corte 1972
At Corte, Corsica, Colonel Sevranckx received the regimental color of 2e REI (September 1972). He was the first commanding officer of the reactivated regiment. In 1950, as a young lieutenant with the 2e REI, he was seriously wounded during the war in French Indochina.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Mayotte - GOLE 1975
The freshly established 7th Company of GOLE, 2e RE during a ceremony on Mayotte, Indian Ocean (January 1975).
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Djibouti - GOLE 1976
The GOLE, 2e RE during its deployment to Djibouti (March 30, 1976). Two months later, 6 legionnaires from GOLE were killed during the 1976 Djibouti helicopter crash.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Djibouti - GOLE 1976
The plaque to commemorate the GOLE legionnaires, killed during the 1976 Djibouti helicopter crash. In France, the accident remains still unknown, even in 2016.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Corsica - Corte - CEA 1980
Quartier de Chabrières, Corte, Corsica. The establishment of Recce & Support Company (CEA), 2e REI (January 24, 1980). Around 25 Jeeps equipped with Milan anti-tank launchers. Military precision presented by the Legion…
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Corsica - Bonifacio - Camerone 1980
Bonifacio, Corsica. 2e REI legionnaires parading on Camerone Day at their HQ, located at the Citadel Montlaur (April 30, 1980)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Corsica - Bonifacio - VAB 1982
Bonifacio, Corsica. The regiment with its new equipment: VAB carriers (1982)

 

2e REI: Nimes 1983 – 2016

1983:
– 2e REI left Corsica for Nimes
– in early November, 2e REI was fully stationed at Nimes, France
– it was based at Caserne de Chabrières

1985:
– Central African Republic

1987 – 2014:
Operation Epervier
– 2e REI depoyed to Chad

1990:
Operation Requin in Gabon

1990 – 1991:
Gulf War (Operation Daguet)
– Iraq and Kuwait, September 1990 – February 1991
– 2e REI was fully (5 companies) involved in the conflict
– 1er REC + 6e REG + commandos from 2e REP also took part in

1991:
– Central African Republic
– Chad
– Zaire (Operation Baumier)

1992 – 1993:
– APRONUC peacekeeping mission in Cambodia
– 2e REI + 1er REC + 6e REG were involved in

1993 – 1995:
– Bosnia, ex-Yugoslavia

1994:
– Chad
– Rwanda

2001 – 2002:
– Macedonia, ex-Yugoslavia (Operation Minerve)

2002:
– Kosovo, ex-Yugoslavia

2003:
– Chad

2005 – 2010:
– Afghanistan

2006 – 2015:
– Ivory Coast (Operation Licorne)

2011:
– Senegal

2013 – 2014:
– Mali (Operation Serval)

2013 – present:
– Central African Republic (Operation Sangaris)

2014 – present:
– Mali, Chad, Niger (Operation Berkhane)

2015 – present:
– France (Operation Sentinelle)

2015:
– 2e REI received its first VBCI vehicles

 

2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - France - Nimes 1983
Nimes, France. The VABs of 2e REI during the first regimental parade in their new garrison town (November 11, 1983)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - France - Nimes 1983
2e REI legionnaires wounded in Lebanon are decorated at the new HQ of the regiment in Nimes (November 11, 1983)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Chad - Operation Epervier 1987
Chad. 2e REI legionnaires during Operation Epervier (1987)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Gulf War - Daguet 1990
2e REI legionnaires in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War (1990)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Bosnia - 1995
Bosnia, ex- Yugoslavia. Legionnaires from Heavy Mortar Platoon, CEA, 2e REI, operating a 120 mm mortar (1995)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Afghanistan - 2011
2e REI in Afghanistan (2011)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Sangaris - 2015
A VBCI of 2e REI in the Central African Republic (2015)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Sangaris - 2015
Operation Sentinelle. 2e REI legionnaires patrolling in Paris (2015)
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Tapanar
Tapanar, the mascot of the 2e REI. The mule became the mascot of 2e REI in 1984. Tapanar I was replaced by Caporal-chef Tapanar II (on the picture) in 1986. In 2014, after 28 years of service, Tapanar II left the regiment to pass its place to a new mule, Tapanar III.
2 REI - 2REI - 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment - 2nd REI - Legion - Nimes - Caserne de Chabrieres 2010
Caserne de Chabrières, Nimes. The current HQ of the 2e REI.

 

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For current information about the regiment, see 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment

 

 

2e REI - 2 REI - Foreign Legion Etrangere - Foreign Infantry Regiment - T-shirt

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Images source:
2e REI official website
Képi blanc magazines
Ecpad.fr
Ministère de la Défense – French Ministry of Defence official website
Admin’s archive

 

Information sources:
Képi blanc magazines
Annual bulletins of the Legion 1954-64
Ecpad.fr (French Army media service)
Defense.gouv.fr – French Ministry of Defence official website
Insignes Legion (FFL insignia & badges)
More-majorum (German legionnaires in the Indochina War)
Fanion Vert et Rouge (FFL info website)
La Légion au Maroc (Legionnaires in Morocco)
AALEME (Montpellier & Environs Legion’s Veterans)
Pierre Soulié: 1901-1935 – La Légion Étrangère au Maroc

 
Foreign Legion’s disbanded regiments:
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
3rd Foreign Parachute Regiment
2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment
4th Foreign Infantry Regiment
5th Foreign Regiment
6th Foreign Infantry Regiment

 

The page was updated on: June 27, 2017

 

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